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What is domestic violence?

Some people in New York may think that domestic violence is limited to physical attacks. However, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides a broad definition of what constitutes domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs between intimate partners and can involve physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Domestic violence does not have to follow a pattern or happen regularly. It may look very different from household to household, but generally involves the desire of the abuser to control their victim.

Domestic violence occurs throughout New York and impacts individuals of all economic, social and racial backgrounds. Victims of domestic violence can seek help with the harm they suffer, though, and in many cases may secure protective orders to prevent their abusers from making contact with them. Protective orders may stop an abuser from calling their victim, approaching their victim or even living in the same home as their victim.

Domestic violence often affects members of a victim's family who are not the direct recipients of the abuse. For example when one adult abuses the other in their marriage their children may suffer fear as a result of the harm they witness. Protective orders can also cover those who suffer from the side effects of domestic violence in their homes.

In a perfect world domestic violence would not exist and no person would suffer physical, sexual, emotional or psychological harm at the hands of someone who should trust and love them. Since this fantasy does not closely parallel reality for many individuals, laws exist that allow victims to seek support and help with their domestic violence problems. Family law attorneys often are good resources for those victims of domestic violence who wish to learn more about ways of seeking help.

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